Hello John, and all other people on Orchid,
Thank you for this perfekt chemical list, it is for people other
than english speaking countries a blessing. And I agree with John
please try use the standard new chemical names.
This also counts for measures and weights Please use the world SI
Like temperature in Celcius, not the extreme old fasion Fahrenheit
we people outside amerika already banned this from world war 2 Also
Inches, gauges, PSI, ounce , gallons, ect ( I know, for lot of
people difficult) are not according SI metric standart.
So please learn the world standart and use it for better
You’re right. Ever since World War 2, we (Americans) have been
secretly trying to undermine world communication by forcing everyone
to speak English and measure everything in the most difficult,
illogical, incomprehensible system you could ever imagine. It was
actually a part of the Marshall Plan to prepare Europe and the world
for the rise of the American Empire. We did pretty good with the
English but you guys sure are stubborn about that measurement stuff!
Jeez! Haven’t you seen “Star Trek-Next Generation”? “Resistance is
futile. You will be assimilated.” Please try to keep up with current
Ummm…okay, just kidding ;} Seriously though, measurement systems
are more or less arbitrary human inventions that change form one
culture and epoch to another. The SI system seems like a standard
only because it is structured completely around a base 10 system.
Although it is the closest thing we have to a “world standard”, there
are many places other than the United States where other common or
archaic systems and terms are widely used. Did you know that the
distance between train rails is largely the result of the Romans
building their chariots to accomodate 2 horses? Their empire is long
gone but here we are moving millions of people and tons of products
around the world every day maintaining the spacing of 2 horse butts!
Where did these karats and penny weights and troy ounces come from?
Not from us backward, old-fashioned Americans. Celcius? Based on the
freezing point of water? Maybe that seems reasonable in northern
Europe, etc. But what if I live on the equator and I’ve never seen
water freeze? What about the Kelvin scale…based on the temperature
where molecular motion theoretically stops?
Okay, so I’m just trying to make this silly point and probably
over-reacted. Apologies if I stepped on any toes.
Ummm…now about that spelling and grammar… ;} Just kidding.
Best to all, Please hope for Peace.
Black Horse Design
I have always appreciated the metric system. There was a real push
while I was in grade school to get young people to accept it or at
least to understand it better. I was at that age where it really
sank in. I have always been curious as to why the USA has been so
reluctant to change.
I heard an interview on our public radio station that was very
interesting. I missed the very first part of the story so I didn’t
get the all the names of those involved. Evidently, Thomas
Jefferson was very interested in making the metric system the
official measuring system in the US. But, the ship that was binging
the fellow who bore the bronze measuring standard was hijacked by
pirates and he spent years imprisoned on a carribean island.
Eventually the standard made it to the US but it was too late.
Without the bronze standard Jefferson was unable to convince the
lawmakers to accept the meter. A pox apon those scurvy pirates!
Hello Martin, I always enjoy your postings, and this one about using
metric measurements is very good. We U.S. “old fogeys” who grew up
with the old standards inherited from Great Britian, have not
learned to “think” in metric. While I’ve spend my fair share of
time in a lab and am comfortable with metric measures in that
setting, somehow it doesn’t translate to my kitchen. On the other
hand, I know the dimensions of a 7x5mm stone, but would have to
measure it to know what the equivalent is in fractions of an inch.
You have reminded me to make an effort to internalize the metric
measures, and now I’ll look at the metric equivalents when I measure
volumes. In time I’ll know that a cup = 8 oz. = ??ml, but right now
it’s a blank! Wow, temperatures too. Right now the only Centigrade
temp I have reference for is 37 degrees. That is the incubator
temperature for growing common pathogenic bacteria and is equivalent
to human normal body temperature (98.6 degrees F).
Martin, you are so right. Communication will be much better if we
all use the same standards. Judy in Kansas
The whole story is even more interesting and political. It was
decided by an international committee (of which Jefferson was a part
and a staunch advocate) that the measure to be used as the basis for
this new metric system should be something that was truly
international and that could be independently determined anywhere in
the world. The only thing that really fit (that could be accurately
measured at the time) was the circumference of the Earth, and it was
decided that one ten-millionth of a quadrant of the circumference
(the quadrant defined as the distance from a pole to the equator)
would be the basis for the “metre” or “meter” for the new system. Up
until this point, everyone was happy. For a bunch of reasons that
appear totally silly and completely political in retrospect,
Jefferson then got ticked off that the meridian chosen to be actually
measured to determine the standard passed through Paris (it went from
Dunkirk to Barcelona), rather than a site in the U.S. He flatly
refused to defend adoption of the new standard to the lawmakers in
the U.S., conveniently using the piracy of the bronze standard
measure as an excuse, with the result that we still have our old
system of measurement rather than following the lead of the rest of
There is a wonderful new book out about the 2 men who were tasked
with actually measuring and surveying that distance. They set out
with papers authorizing their survey (signed, of course, by the King
of France), were repeatedly harassed and arrested as spies, were
almost executed due to being caught out with royalist decrees during
the height of the French Revolution, and had a bunch of other
adventures. One of them made a rather significant measurement error,
which he realized too late to fix it without redoing 2 years worth of
work. He concealed the error and went to his grave with the secret
(but revealed his torment over it to his diary). Riveting and
fascinating stuff! The book is called "The Measure of All Things:
The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error That Transformed the World"
by Ken Alder (Oct. 2002).
which he realized too late to fix it without redoing 2 years worth
of work. He concealed the error and went to his grave with the
secret (but revealed his torment over it to his diary).
Now I’m curious. How much of an error, and should the meter be
larger or smaller than it is? I can’t imagine that any error would be
that significant after it was divided by ten million.
Did you know that the distance between train rails is largely the
result of the Romans building their chariots to accomodate 2
horses? Their empire is long gone but here we are moving millions
of people and tons of products around the world every day
maintaining the spacing of 2 horse butts!
Or to carry it further, one critical dimension in a solid rocket is
ofcourse the diameter. this applies as well, to the solid rocket
boosters on the space shuttle. They’d have been more efficient, I’ve
been told, if they were a little wider, but because the sections must
be moved by rail, and are limited by the dimensions of rail tunnels as
well as train tracks, they’re made the way they are. thus one
critical componant of one of the most complex and advanced
transportaions systems of our age, the space shuttle, is based on
train tracks, which is based originally on 18th century carriage
wheel bases (since it was the carriage builders who built the first
trains) which were made to conform to the ruts in english roads or
the ruts would have broken axels on other-measurement carriages. The
ruts on the oldest and most used roads were worn by roman chariots on
the roman built roads, and the wheel bases of the roman chariats
were nicely fitted around the two horses which built them, the only
measurement in the whole chain based on actual function, not
convention. so to extend the above statement, a critical measurement
of arguably the most advanced system of transportation yet built by
man was defined by a couple of horses asses.
With thanks for this wonderful bit of historical trivia, to that
cool T.V. history series, “Connections”, where I first heard it a
number of years ago.